Car park proposals to be presented before Full Council

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A new Car Park Strategy committing to the green agenda and cost neutral car parks is being proposed by Blaby District Council.

The new strategy will be voted on at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 19 July and focuses on working towards the Council’s priorities, including the installation of LED lighting as well as maintaining and installing cycle racks.

There is also a commitment to developing new community safety-focused CCTV in Blaby Village Centre and Narborough Railway Station, subject to a successful grant application for funding.

Running the pay-and-display car parks in the district led to a significant loss over the last three years. The forecast is for a further unfunded loss of £61,000 in 2022/23. Set against the backdrop of ever tightening budgets and rapidly increasing supplier costs across in Local Government, efforts must be made to stop the continued losses.

The Council is committed to ensuring that the car park service operates on the principle of the user pays, and as such the burden on our wider district taxpayers is greatly reduced by being run on at least a cost neutral basis.

A car park consultation was run from 11 May to 01 June. From the responses received more than 75% of people were against the proposal to increase the two-hour charge from 30p to £1 as most users of Blaby and Narborough car parks use them for less than an hour.

As a result of this feedback Councillors are proposing the option of a new one-hour tariff of 70p in the pay and display car parks in Blaby and Narborough. Two-hours will cost £1, with £1.50 for three hours and £3 for four hours. Parking all day will cost £6, including Narborough Railway Station. This keeps the tariff in the pay and display car parks either cheaper or comparable to neighbouring authorities.

The strategy includes the ongoing promotion and adaptation to cashless payment systems such as card, Mobile App or pay-by-phone. However, one payment machine in each pay-and-display car park will continue to accept cash payments.

Following the introduction of Electric Vehicle charging points last year, the Council has ambitions to ensure these are kept to support residents who want to own an electric vehicle but have limited or no off-street parking.

Four days of free car parking in the pay and display car parks will also be maintained. These days will be spread across the year and tie in with key events or occasions. Three hours of free parking will also continue to be available for disabled blue badge holders.

Councillor Les Phillimore, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Community and Environmental Services, said: “No-one wants to increase charges, least of all in the current climate, but I cannot stress just how important this new strategy is to reducing our annual car park losses which are in the tens of thousands of pounds and to make them viable and sustainable, whilst increasing our commitments to the green agenda and running a financially sustainable Council.”

“We need to ensure that money is available to maintain and resurface our car parks and this strategy will also enable us to install cycle racks and better LED lighting, continuing our journey to see the Council as carbon neutral by 2030 and the district to be carbon neutral by 2050, which has considerable support in the consultation.

“The topic of car parks has been looked at by a cross-party group, who have been, in the majority, supportive of many aspects of our proposals.

We’ve also listened to the consultation, are working with local businesses and recognise that not everyone needs two hours. This is why we’re offering the one-hour option that gives our car park users more options, but users still positively contribute to the costs of running and maintaining the car parks.

“I’m also pleased to confirm that if voted through at next week’s Council meeting, this new strategy will ensure the new charges are frozen until 2027.”

13 July 2022
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